High-end vs. Low-end fashion

Recently I had to do an assignment for CIT where I compared two similar garments from a low end and a high end brand.  It so happened that I had two *very* similar dresses, one from Modcloth and one from Review.  I know, I'm predictable.  I almost bought another similar one recently!  Stopped myself just in time.
1. Fireside Glow dress from Modcloth.  Stock photo

2. Dress from Review, stock photo.
Worn - sorry with a cardigan.

The point of the assignment was to look at construction and fabric of each dress.  Here's my results.

Modcloth Fireside Glow dress
Price: $49
Fabric: 96% polyester, 4% spandex
Made in: USA
Seams: Overlocked together, 4 sts per cm.
Hems: Folded over 1cm twice
Waist finishes: Bodice joined directly to skirt, pleats at top of skirt to add fullness.
Interfacing: Fusible web interfacing on collar only
Zip: 50cm invisible zip
Lining: No.
Details: Contrasting collar
Comments: Sleeve holes way too big, the whole thing is a bit floppy.

Review dress
Price: $182 (down from 259)
Fabric: Outer: 100% polyester.  Lining: 97% polyester, 3% elastine
Made in: China
Seams: Overlocked raw edges separately, pressed open.  5 sts per cm.
Hems: Enclosed in lining at sleeve, enclosed in contrast fabric at hem.
Waist finishes: Bodice joined directly to skirt
Interfacing: None.
Zip: 60cm invisible zip
Lining: Yes fully lined
Details: Contrasting collar, contrasting bottom band, side belt loops and detachable belt.  Button closure at collar.
Comments: The fabric snags and pulls easily.  Print is an Australian flora design.

So what is my extra $133 paying for in the Review dress?
- one more stitch per cm.
- a tiny belt
- lining
- contrasting fabric at border
- print
- button closure

But I'm still not getting a dress made from natural fibres (or at least a blend), made in Australia, which is what I'd expect from a "high end" Australian brand that charges that much.  I don't expect that the dressmakers in China are being paid much more than minimum wage, which depending on which province it's made in, can be very little indeed. Review dresses do generally have a lot of beautiful details (this dress is very plain compared to their other dresses), and probably have a much smaller run than the Modcloth dress.  So perhaps this exclusivity is part of why it costs more.

I'm not making a judgement - I love both of my dresses and I'd have bought them whether or not I knew this stuff at the time.  But it's worth thinking about in future when buying clothes.  

What do you think?  Are you surprised at the comparison between these dresses?


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